Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. has received a contract award from the Boeing Co. to provide engine pylons and nacelles for the initial phase of the B-52 commercial engine replacement program (CERP). The total CERP effort is expected to replace 608 engines on the U.S. Air Force fleet of B-52H models.
As part of the CERP contract, Spirit will support extending the life of the B-52 Stratofortress through at least 2050. The B-52 first entered the U.S. Air Force fleet in 1955.
From the first flight in April 1952, Wichita, Kansas played a major role in manufacturing the B-52, where all B-52H models were built. By the end of its original production run in 1962, more than 700 of the planes had been built, most of them in Wichita, which has a legacy with the U.S. bomber fleet that dates to B-29 Superfortress production during World War II.
“We are very pleased Boeing selected Spirit to be the structures partner on the B-52 CERP program, taking advantage of decades of experience and capabilities building engine struts and nacelles in Wichita,” said Duane Hawkins, executive vice president, president Defense & Space. “Spirit is proud of our heritage with the warfighter by producing legacy bombers and now extending that legacy keeping the B-52 flying for decades to come.”
Spirit is one of the world’s largest suppliers of engine pylons, delivering every pylon for Boeing’s commercial aircraft. Spirit currently builds the nacelle for the commercial variant of the Rolls Royce F-130 engine, selected by the Air Force for the B-52 CERP program.
Editor’s note: The F130 is a variant of the Rolls-Royce engine already in service with the U.S. Air Force, powering the C-37A, based on Gulfstream V aircraft, and the C-37B, based on Gulfstream 550; and the E11 Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) using a Bombardier Global 6000.
Rolls-Royce will build and test the F130 engines at its Indianapolis, Indiana, facility following the recent completion of a $600 million investment to revitalize the advanced manufacturing campus.
“Spirit will apply its vast experience building and delivering thousands of engine struts and nacelles for commercial applications on the CERP program,” said Jarrod Bartlett, Defense & Space business development manager.